Friendship is a close bond between two people who like each other. Friendship is expressed in respect, trust, affection and care. This is the foundation of a friendship.
"Friendship is a door between two people. It can sometimes creak, it can jam, but it is never closed."
– Baltasar Gracian y Morales
However, what constitutes a friendship beyond that is very individual. There is no single definition of what is mandatory to be a friendship.
What’s important in a friendship depends entirely on the friendship:
- Some friends you talk to several times a week. Others maybe only once a year.
- with some friends you talk a lot. With others you just spend a good time without talking much.
- With some friends you have many common interests and hobbies. You find other friends interesting because they are so different.
Still, both can be very good friends of yours.
And that shows that every friendship follows its own rules.
Friendship makes us happy and healthy
With friends there is often something to laugh about. And the worries you share are only half as heavy.
But friends are not only important for you for these obvious reasons. Research is revealing more and more exciting reasons why friends make your life better in many ways:
- Friends reduce your stress and increase your well-being.
- Friends boost your self-esteem.
- Friends strengthen your psychological resilience.
- Friends also strengthen your defenses and keep you healthy.
So people with good relationships are happier and healthier than people who live in loneliness. Friendships measurably increase our quality of life.
"Basically, it is the connections with people that give life its value."
– William of Humboldt
You probably know yourself how important good friends are.
Yet you may not always succeed in maintaining friendships. Or making new friends.
And there are also certain circumstances that can make keeping friends a little more difficult.
What makes friendship difficult
There are certain life circumstances that can affect friendships:
- a job that takes up all your time
- a very busy everyday life that sucks up all your energy and puts existing friendships to the test
- A move that makes it difficult for you to keep in close contact with old friends or make new ones
Such circumstances can sometimes complicate the cultivation of friendship. And the less personal time you have with your friends, the harder it often is to maintain the friendship.
5 tips on how to maintain friendships
Even if circumstances sometimes make it a little difficult. Still, there are a few tips on how you can make friendships last:
1. Be consistent
The biggest factor in maintaining your friendships is time. Because the main point in which friendships differ from acquaintances is:
- How long you have known someone and
- how much time you have already spent with this person.
So keeping in touch is a prerequisite for friendship to flourish.
If there is a "secret recipe" for friendships, it is that you should steadily keep in touch. With that kind of consistency you make the friendship last.
It doesn’t require much time or effort at all. Especially with the many options today. A quick "Hello, how are you?? What does life?" is often already enough.
Everyone is happy about it. Just as you would be happy to do.
If you’ve been bad at keeping in touch, just make it a habit to write to the person very briefly as soon as you think of them.
For it does everyone good to be interested in them. And you almost always have time for a short message.
2. Don’t take things personally
This point is very important for the functioning of friendships.
You may write a message and not get a response for a week. Or you have an appointment canceled at short notice.
Maybe you feel you’ve been put in front of the head by this. Which is a normal reaction.
On the other hand, most people don’t mean any harm. Everyday life can be quite stressful at times.
Maybe your counterpart is glad to have some time for himself/herself. Sometimes you just don’t have the energy to care about others anymore.
Do not take such behavior personally. Cause it has nothing to do with you.
"The first law of friendship is that it must be nurtured. The second is to cut yourself some slack when the first is violated."
For many people, many other very important things also fall behind in their busy daily lives: They would like to spend more time with their partner, exercise regularly, take care of the garden … But there is often not enough time for all of that.
And it’s the same with friendship care.
Therefore, never impute a bad intention to your friends. For it is not directed against you personally. And that’s why you shouldn’t put it on the gold scale.
Keep at it. In most cases it is worth it.
3. Do not judge
Yes, we are all very quick to judge others:
- "He/she hardly ever gets in touch."
- "He/she only told you about himself/herself this time"."
- "He/she would finally have to solve his/her own problem."
It’s normal that things don’t always go according to your expectations. But most of the time it’s just a phase.
If your friend is having a heartbreak, it’s normal that conversations are mostly about the person you want to be with.
Such phases are also part of a friendship. It only becomes difficult when such phases become permanent. And the friendship is out of balance.
Nevertheless, you should also allow your friends bad phases sometimes. And don’t condemn them for it right away. Just as you don’t want to be judged hastily.
"Really good friends are people who know us very well and still stand by us."
– Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach
So practice understanding. And try to find out what is going on with your counterpart right now. That way you show honest interest. And that binds you together.
4. Share your life with your friends
To be a good friend is to be able to listen. Clearly.
But it also has something to do with the fact that you let other people participate in your life. And also reveal things about yourself.
Such openness may make you a little uncomfortable at first. Maybe you don’t like being the center of attention. But the more you tell people about yourself, the easier it is for them to connect with you.
Of course you make yourself vulnerable when you are so open. But this is the only way to give your friendship depth.
5. Be adventurous
Shared experiences really bond people together.
That’s why you can be great friends with some people after only a short time, while it takes years with others. Simply, because common experiences accelerate the mutual befriending strongly.
It doesn’t matter what you do together. It’s all about experiencing something together. For it deepens the friendship.
Often, after all, it takes someone to take care of it. Who organizes and carries the others along. If you take this role once in a while, you can be sure that your friendships will grow through it.
8 Tips on how to make new friends
New friends don’t just fall from the sky, unfortunately. To make new friends, you need to get out of your comfort zone a bit.
What can you do if you want to make new friends?
Tip 1: Get together with people
How you meet many new people, you can read in this article here: How to Meet New People.
Tip 2: Build up contact
You have met someone who is sympathetic to you? Search for the person on social media and write to him or her. Make contact in a nice way: "Hey X, the other day Y was very nice. I’m glad I found you here."
Tip 3: Bring the contact into reality
Provided you have met someone virtually on the Internet, then try to make the contact real. Friendship comes from physical time spent together.
Tip 4: Suggest a meeting
When people meet somewhere and like each other, someone has to make a start for the relationship to continue.
What often works very well: Suggest a joint activity: "Do you feel like coming to XYZ with us??" But many people are afraid to ask. Sure, you can also get a rejection and that hurts.
But if you don’t ask, then the friendship has no chance. And if the other person doesn’t dare to do this, then this contact might quickly fizzle out. It’s a pity, isn’t it??
Most people are happy to be asked. Since they often don’t dare to make the first move themselves. Or simply sometimes do not even come to the idea. So it’s worth being brave and making the first step.
Tip 5: Evaluate rejections realistically
Being rejected – that’s the biggest fear when you’re trying to make new friends. That’s why it takes so much courage to actively seek contact.
When a rejection comes, it is painful at first. But, if you want to meet new people, then you have to take rejections into account.
A rejection can be due to many things:
- The person has a lot of stress and really no time right now.
- The person is not interested in new friendships because they already have enough friends.
A rejection can have many reasons that have nothing to do with you. You do not know. Therefore never take a rejection personally! But understand it as an "Okay, this is not a good time".
And then try it with another sympathetic person.
Tip 6: Give the friendship time
If you’re looking to make new friends, you may feel a little bit of pressure. And if you then meet someone likeable, you have correspondingly high hopes. Which is completely natural.
But making friends takes time. Sometimes more, sometimes less. Trust doesn’t necessarily grow overnight.
Try to approach making friends as casually as possible. And do not put pressure on yourself and your counterpart.
Tip 7: Have realistic expectations of the new friendship
If you approach new friendships with high expectations, your counterpart will quickly feel overwhelmed. And your expectations then run the risk of being disappointed.
That’s why it can be worthwhile to take a closer look at your expectations. Ask yourself:
- "What do I actually expect from a new friendship??"
- "What is a realistic expectation? And what expectation is perhaps a bit high?"
Tip 8: Be a good friend yourself
"The only way to make friends is to be friends yourself."
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
If you live by this motto, you might invest more in the friendship than your counterpart in the beginning. This is normal and is part of the process of making new friends. Because it always takes someone to get the ball rolling.
The important thing is that it doesn’t last. But your counterpart also shows initiative at some point. And figuratively "rolls along" the stone you have unrolled. Cause it takes two to make a friend.
- "What does it mean to be a good friend??"
- "What makes a good friend for myself??"
If you know your responses to them, you will know what to give yourself as a friend.
Is this friendship – yes or no?
Each of us has our own sense of what constitutes a friend.
You have just asked yourself what it means to you to be a good friend.
Your answer to this question clarifies your own personal "this is a friend" criteria.
And these "this is a friend" criteria you can apply not only to yourself. But of course also on your counterpart.
Perhaps in a friendship you z. B. especially important to take time for each other frequently.
So, according to your personal definition, those are your friends who do the same.
Those who do not meet these criteria are more like "good acquaintances" for you.
How do you recognize false friends?
False friends are people who pretend to be your friends – but in reality they aren’t.
In false friendships, one of these "symptoms" usually occurs:
This is probably the most common indication of a "false friendship". The person always talks about himself and his own problems. Always wants to get, but not to give. Is unfortunately not there for you, if you need them in return times.
This is a "friendship" that is out of balance. And which in the long run becomes rather one-sided.
"Everyone likes to ride in the luxury limousine. But you need people to ride the bus with you when the limo breaks down."
– Oprah Winfrey
Friends sometimes tell you truths to your face that hurt. That is part of some friendships. The intention of a friend is but always positive. A friend is trying to do something good for you and help you out. A friend remains respectful.
Criticism that is simply destructive and nasty does not fall into this category. Disrespect is an indication that someone does not only mean well with you.
3. Breach of trust
You tell someone something in absolute confidence and the person tells it on?
Trust is an indispensable foundation for friendship. If you can’t trust your counterpart, then you can’t build a real friendship with that person either.
Of course, everyone can make a mistake. But if the breach of trust happens more than once, then it is very likely a false friendship.
When should you give up a friendship?
There are several reasons why friendships end:
- If it is a false friend
- When friendship is no longer good for you
- If it simply does not fit between you any more and you have developed too much apart
But there is nothing wrong with that. Because it takes two to make a friendship.
It is up to you how much you do for the friendship. But what the other person invests, unfortunately, you can not influence. The thing you can do is to do your best from your side.
Conclusion: How friendships succeed
Here again 3 basic rules, so that your friendships succeed and prosper:
1. Act like a true friend yourself
… and you will keep long lasting friendships and make new friends.
For this, however, you yourself must first have clear for you:
- "How does a true friend actually behave??"
- "What do I expect from a true friend??"
- "And can I and do I want to give that back myself?"
Once you’ve worked this out for yourself, you’ll find it much easier to behave like a good friend yourself.
2. Seek and keep contact
Seek contact. Even if it is only for a short time. Be in constant contact. Because friendships need one thing above all: a lot of time.
3. Be kind
Forgive your friends for their mistakes. Do not look at them too critically. And don’t take things too personally.
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